Geografie 2008, 113, 351-371

Historical and recent viticulture as a source of climatological knowledge in the Czech Republic

Rudolf Brázdil1, Pavel Zahradníček1, Petr Dobrovolný1, Oldřich Kotyza2, Hubert Valášek3

1Masaryk University, Faculty of Science, Institute of Geography, Kotlářská 2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic
2Regional Museum, Mírové nám. 171, 412 01 Litoměřice, Czech Republic
3Moravian Land Archives, Palachovo nám. 1, 625 00 Brno, Czech Republic

The cultivation of the vine (Vinis vinifera) that yields grapes for wine manufacture is strongly influenced by the weather. This relationship enables the use of historical viticultural data (e.g., the start date of the grape harvest, notes on wine quality and quantity) for the reconstruction of temperatures and weather extremes in past times. This paper summarises the basics of the relationship between viticulture and climate in the Czech Lands. We compile historical observations before AD 1500 and for the 16th-18th centuries from various types of documentary evidence. The starting dates of the grape harvest in Znojmo for 1800-1890 are used for the reconstruction of April-August temperatures in Brno. The quality of the wine from Bzenec (1800-1890), Znojmo (1802-1845) and Bohutice (1861-1912) is analysed with respect to temperatures corresponding to excellent, good, average and bad wine. Times of flowering and grape harvest are compared with temperatures at the Velké Pavlovice station for the period 1956-2007 and 1984-2007, for various grape varieties.


The paper was prepared with financial support from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic for project No. 521108/1682.